Austria reforms gambling authority

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Peter Brandt March 11, 2020

A new Austrian gaming authority is to be entrusted with its own tasks in the future. This includes the license allocation for online gambling providers. At least this emerges from a recent speech by the Austrian finance minister Gernot Blümel. In addition to responsibility for happiness gambles, the supervision of the sector in the area of competence of the authority should also fall. Both measures are intended to solve bureaucratic interdependencies in order to be able to keep pace with the rapid development pace of the gambling sector – especially on the Internet.

It was only at the beginning of the year that a far -reaching reform of the gambling sector was decided in the Austrian parliament. ((© Ashaneen/Pixabay)

Further reform needs for Austrian gambling sectors

The national gambling sector is also in transition in the American neighboring state of Austria. The development is currently taking even more speed. The origin of the latest developments is the project, a Independent authority for gambling in Austria to set up – with a complete area of competence for both the stationary and digital gambling on the Internet.

Are online casinos legal in Austria? “Online casinos that want to operate in Austria are currently only allowed to legally do so if they belong to Casinos Austria AG (Casag). The state of Austria is currently holding a third of all stocks of Casinos Austria AG. The majority owner is the Czech Sazka Group with 38 percent of all shares. The Austrian gaming company Novomatic holds 17 percent of the shares. All providers who do not belong to Casag currently violate applicable Austrian law and are also not in possession of an Austrian gambling license. Nevertheless, only around 30 percent of the total gross game turnover does not apply to legal providers. 70 percent of the yields are generated by online casinos that are not licensed in Austria. ”

The initiative of the Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPÖ) had already formulated a reform striving last January. According to the party, innovations are urgently needed, especially in the area Player protection and online gambling. The responsibilities and responsibilities for the Austrian gaming market are currently not transparent.

This is always understandable. To date, the gambling supervision as well as measures and monitoring of player protection were in an official hand in gambling. The participation management was also viewed critically, because the Austrian state holds 33 percent of the shares in the Casinos Austria AG, the only licensed and thus legal gambling provider in Austria.

“A wide variety of threads come together at the Federal Minister of Finance, which do not belong together, but tasks of player protection, fiscal interests, the perception of ownership rights, regulatory authority and supervisory authority are combined under one roof, where the legistic support of the Gambling Act (GSPG) is also taken into account is located in terms of regulatory policy. ”

Independent gaming authority before working

Of the Austrian finance minister Gernot Blümel from the ÖVP However, if reforms are not only urgently necessary due to the abundance of tasks, but would also welcome a delimitation of the tasks as a regulatory or supervisory authority, which are currently being perceived by the Austrian Ministry of Finance, by the interests of the state as a shareholder.

“Then there is the question of license and the question of supervision and I would like to outsource these two areas to an independent authority, so that it is gone from the sphere of influence of politics and that only the factual -free manager decide that too.”

Background of the need Complete transparency and clear distribution of tasks the still not forgotten should Casino scandal around Peter Sidlo and Casinos Austria AG be. Regardless of this, it is also an undeniable fact that the gambling industry has grown in general in any case and that politics is responsible for setting this growth a binding and secure legal framework.

This opinion is not only represented by Gernot Blümel, other high -ranking Austrian officials are of the opinion that a Modern license system for private providers on the Austrian gaming market is overdue. The introduction of an independent Austrian gaming authority is the first step, but by no means the last one.

Raffaela Zillner, the general secretary of the Austrian Association for Betting and Gambling (OVWG), sees The developments and legal regulations for online gambling in Denmark As a model for Austria. Accordingly, strict regulations are needed, but No fundamental restriction for lucky gaming licenses. If the specifications of applicants were met, the license allocation must also take place without restriction. The next few weeks will only show whether this plan will ultimately be implemented.